50-YEAR-OLD MAGNETIC MYSTERY SOLVED; QUANTUM STRUCTURE OBEYS CLASSICAL PHYSICS
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State University physicists and their colleagues have demonstrated for the first time a type of magnetic behavior that was predicted to exist more than 50 years ago.
The behavior involves a special kind of energy transition among atoms in a very small magnet, called chromium-8 (Cr8). And while scientists have long thought that the effect was controlled purely by quantum mechanics, the magnet’s behavior appears to reflect the laws of classical physics.
The classical laws of movement and energy are ones that people experience in daily life, and they normally only apply to objects that are large enough to be seen with the naked eye. In contrast, the molecular magnet Cr8 is so small that quantum mechanics -- the science that describes the interactions of subatomic particles -- should rule its behavior.
The finding could help bridge the gap between quantum and classical approaches for understanding these tiny structures, and aid the future development of useful devices based on nanotechnology, such as very powerful, very small computers.Read on......
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